Can child support be terminated if my child is not living with us?

Question:Cordell & Cordell attorney Andrea Miller

I am wondering about the termination of child support and whether my child is considered emancipated. My daughter is 18, still in high school, and has a child of her own, but she no longer lives with us.

She is on an extended high school graduation schedule where she will not graduate for another year. What are our chances of filing a motion for termination of child support based on these facts and the court honoring the request?


The North Carolina General Statutes, where I practice, dictate that payments for the support of a child “shall terminate when the child reaches the age of 18 except if the child is otherwise emancipated, if the child is still in primary or secondary school when the child reaches age 18, support payments shall continue until the child graduates, otherwise ceases to attend school on a regular basis, fails to make satisfactory academic progress towards graduation, or reaches age 20, which ever comes first, unless the court in its discretion orders that payments cease at age 18 or prior to high school graduation.”

In your question while your daughter is 18, since she is still in school, termination may or may not happen depending on other circumstances. Is she doing well in school? Is she skipping school? How many absences does she have? What is the reasoning for the early release? How is her overall performance in school?

All of these questions help to determine your chances of termination of child support. The fact that she is still in school and over the age of 18 is not enough to terminate. If she is making efforts to graduate and progress academically then a court may be hesitant to terminate child support.

Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys located nationwide should you seek legal advice.


Andrea Miller is a Staff Attorney in the Charlotte, N.C., office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Miller is licensed in the state of North Carolina. Ms. Miller received her undergraduate degree in History and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  While in law school, she on the Client Counseling Team for Moot Court and became a board member. Ms. Miller also participated in UNC’s Legal Assistance Clinic whereby she helped represent indigent clients obtain legal counsel primarily in the area of domestic relations.

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